Latitude 54˚29'48"N Longitude 05˚28'39"W

ACQUISITION Lodger facilities from R.A.F. Northern Ireland from 1942.

Transferred from R.A.F. Northern Ireland on loan 14 July 1945.


COMMISSIONED 17 July 1945.


PAID OFF To Care & Maintenance status 14 November 1945 'on books of GADWALL'.


CLOSED Returned to R.A.F. Northern Ireland control, 24/01.46.
C.O. Captain G.N.P. Stringer
FUNCTION No. 4 Naval Fighter School

No.1 Hellcat Servicing Unit

Support of disembarked squadrons


TENDER R.N.A.S. Kirkistown


ADDRESS R.N. Air Station


 County Down,

Northern Ireland



The airfield lies 11 mile SE of Newtonatds, County Down.


LANDMARKS Coast skirts E. end of the airfield, Shrangfiord Lough  3 miles W. Skulmart lightship 3½ miles NNE.


ROAD AND RAIL ACCESS Railway station at Newtonards, 13½ miles (R).


ELEVATION  26' above M.S.L.


RUNWAYS Three, wood chipping and Tarmac:

--/-- QDM. 025˚----˚ .... 1.147 x 50 yds. 

--/-- QDM. 085˚----˚ .... 2,000 x 50 yds. 

--/-- QDM. 145˚----˚ ....1,093 x 50 yds. 


TRACKS Perimeter track connects ends of runways.


OBSTRUCTIONS Navigation Hill 200' ½ mile NW.  Mountain of Mourne 2800' 35 miles SW.
Circuit None.
Approach None.


APPROACH No special approach recommended.


HOMING - VISUAL By day Not known.
By night Not known.


HOMING--RADIO D/F Not known.
Beacons Not known.


APPROACH - VISUAL By day Not known.
By night Mk2 airfield lighting




COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT M/F & H/F ? transmitters, ? receivers.
VH/F  ? transmitters,  ? receivers.



ACCOMMODATION Living quarters


Capacity: (based on RAF manning)

Officers: 188
Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings: 2024
W.R.N.S. Officers: 9
W.R.N.S.  Chiefs, P.O.s and ratings; N18


ARMOURIES Not known.




DISPERSAL Not known.


Number /Type Size Door Height Door Width
2 x Transportable Bellman 250' x 95' 26' 90'
6 x Over Blister 69' x 45'    
6 x Extended over Blister 69' x 90'    
MEDICAL Not known.




Aviation: Not known.
M/T: Not known.
Oil : Not known.
TEST BASE Not known.


TEST BUTT Not known.


WORKSHOPS Not known.


VISITORS Not known.





Air to air

Air to ground and R. p. Firing  
Live and practice bombing  
Practice bombing  

Assault training

Information taken from CB 4368 B. Admiralty Handbook of Naval Air Stations Aug. 45




List of first and second line squadrons, station flight and other flying units based at this location



No. 4 Naval Fighter School

Moved here from RNAS Henstridge 17.08045

Disbanded here 01.11.45, absorbed into 794 squadron.

Equipped with Corsair III & IV, Seafire III & L.III, Harvard.




Detachment (2) operated here 21.08.44 to 09.11.44 when it increased to (4). Reurned to RNAS Eglinton 21.02.45

Equipped with Martinet T.T.I



Deck Landing Training Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Ayr 28.08.45 Moved to RNAS East Haven 25.10.45

Carried out DLT on HMS PREMIER 11 - 27.08.45 and HMS NAIRANA 20./09.45 to 01.10.45.

Equipped with Barracuda II, Corsair II & Iv, Hellcat, and Swordfish.

784 Night Fighter Training Squadron

'B2' flight disembarked from HMS VINDEX 03..04.44 operating 3 aircraft attached to 825 squadron. Re-embarked in VINDEX 15.04.44

'B3' flight disembarked from HMS CAMPANIA 03.04.44 operating 3 aircraft attached to 813 squadron. Re-embarked in CAMPANIA 26.04.44

Equipped with Fulmar NF.IIs.



Fighter Affiliation Flight

'Y' flight operated heed here  07 - 20.02.45 before returning to RNAS Machrihanish.

Equipped with Seafire III.

800 Fleet Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Ayr 28.06.44. Embarked in HMS EMPEROR 09.07.44.

Equipped with Hellcat IIs.

808 Fleet Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Ayr 09.08.44. Conducted ADDLs at RNAS Kirkistown 24.08.44 Moved to RAF Harwarden 01.09.44

Equipped with 9 x Seafire L/IIIs.

Returned 12.10.44 to reequip with 24 Hellcat IIs. Carried out DLT on HMS SMITER04.01.45. Embarked in HMS KHEDIVE05.01.44.

812 Torpedo, Bomber, Reconnaissance Squadron.

Moved here from RNAS Fearn 0501.45. Embarked in HMS VENGEANCE 26.01.45

Equipped with 16 Barracuda IIs.

827 Torpedo, Bomber, Reconnaissance Squadron.

Detachment (?) operated ashore from HMS COLOSSUS 23 - 27.01.45.

All 18 aircraft disembarked from COLOSSUS 28.02.45. Re0embarked in COLOSSUS 20.02.45.

Equipped with Barracuda IIs.

880 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS STALKER 07.10.43. Moved to RNAS Skaebrae 06.02.44.

Equipped with 12 Seafire IIs.

882 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS SEARCHER 12.10.44. Squadron re-equipped, exchanging 20 Wildcat Vs for 20 Wildcat VIs.

Moved to RAF Long Kesh 29.10.44

Equipped with Wildcats.

885 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Lee-on-Solent 04.08.44 equipped with 20 x Seafire L.IIIs.. Carried out ADDLs at RAF Kirkistown 21-98.44. Re-equipped with 24 Hellcat I & II during October before moving to RNAMY Belfst 15.12.44, in transit on route to RNAS Ayr.

887 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAMY Belfast 19.10.42. Moved to RAF Kirkistown 14.11.42.

Equipped with6 Fulmar IIs.

894 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Burscough 08.02.44.Moved to RAF Culmhead 28.04.44.

Returned here 15.05.44. Moved to RNAS Eglinton 30.05.44.

Equipped with 12 x Seafire IIIs.

899 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Disembarked from HMS HUNTER 14.10.43. Exchanged 12 Seafire IIs for 20 Spitfire VBs.

Moved to RNAMY Belfast 17.01.45.

1840 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Eglinton 30.05.44. Squadron strength increased from 10 to 20 aircraft during June.

Embarked in HMS INDEFATIGABLE 25.06.44.

Moved here from RNAS Eglinton 24.10.44.  Moved to RNAS Ayr 09.11.44 but returned on the 19th.

Embarked in HMS SPEAKER 16.12.44.

Equipped with Hellcat IIs.

1846 Single Seat Fighter Squadron

Moved here from RNAS Eglinton 13.01.45.

Detachment (12) carried out DLTs in HMS COLOSSUS 22 - 27.01.45

Exchanged 24 Corsair IIIs for 24 Corsair IVs in February 1945.

Embarked in HMS COLOSSUS 20.02.45.







Click here for a list of Primary sources

Additional sources:


Admiralty Fleet Orders:

6672/45 R.N. Air Stations, Ballyhalbert and Kirkistown - Reduction to Care and Mainitenance.


Confidential Admiralty Fleet Orders:

1220.45 R.N. Air Stations, Ballyhalbert and Kirkistown - Transfer from R.A.F. and Commissioning as Naval Air Station.

1396/46 R.N. Air Stations, Ballyhalbert and Kirkistown -  Return to R.A.F.









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© 2013 Tony Drury


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